An Assessment of the Impact of Teamwork on Organizational Performance
Teamwork is always about team effort for results accomplishment, therefore, is the strategy of working together as a group to achieve the same goal by breaking down of workload for everyone to take part. As one Chinese proverb goes, “Behind an able person there are always other able persons”. The individualistic approach to work has no bearing anymore hence the survival of any organization in the current stiff competitive business space is highly dependent on how the business owners achieve overall results through collective or group effort.
For the effectiveness and efficiency of the group of people, they are further broken down into teams for easy and better coordination. Teamwork remains the only way an organization will achieve its goal hence the term maintenance team, purchase and procurement team, maintenance team, quality and inspection team, administrative team, management team, production team, finance team, marketing and sales team, and HR department team to ensure the workforce efforts are complemented to achieve the bigger picture. Equally, no department can function alone hence cross-departmental links or collaboration is expected to improve shared workload, staff relations, and better ideas/suggestions, and this can only be achieved when each departmental team that is saddled with different responsibilities within the organization reaches a common ground to ensure the achievement of the overall organizational goal and result. Business owners benefit more from a teamwork approach to delivering workplace tasks as the issue of individual low morale, boredom, task deadline, and poor peer pressure will be addressed.
Teamwork in any organization is very impressive and essential; hence, is one term that has been at the forefront of several researchers since discovering its importance in any workplace environment for aiding smooth relations among workers and improving a firm’s performance (Jones et al., 2008, Ingram, 2000, Padhi, 2019). A clear and concise definition has been elusive despite several research works done on this key factor of organizational strategy that ensures the success of any team assignment hence it can be defined as the productivity that is gained when the workforce is appropriately coordinated. Teamwork in an organizational setting has been opined by some researchers as a vital tool in the efficient utilization of resources (Oludare, 2020).
This research is structured around the below questions which were formulated to guide this study:
- What is a team and how does it link/connect with work to form teamwork?
- In what ways does teamwork impact organizational productivity?
- What are the conditions that hinder teamwork productivity?
The termed teamwork is not only peculiar to an organization but also as old as a man (Agarwal & Adjirackor, 2016). Drawing from the old productivity strategy where man prefers to join the effort with others for dominance and sustenance and have managed such initiative over the years towards such a move thereby not living alone but coexisting and collaborating with people in a community with common goals and solving issues confronting their coexistence together. Previous researchers have presented various models on how teamwork as a strategy function properly to achieve the desired result hence the 21st-century organization strategized daily to leverage this impressive cornerstone strategy to coordinate the workforce for efficient and effective result delivery to accomplish their set target.
Teamwork can also be seen as a management strategy that is geared towards better team performance which is the outcome of the team’s actions/functions regardless of how they may have accomplished the task (Silas et al., 2005). Cohesion, trust building, and cooperation among the workforce in any working environment can only be achieved through teamwork. The work of Padhi, (2019) opined that since team members will not want to see the failure of any of the team members, each strives and is internally motivated to ensure they support each other to ensure the delivery of the set target. Organizations are increasingly turning to team-based structures to contend with the growing complexity of the environment in which their employees operate (Silas et al., 2005, p. 555) because teams have the advantage of offering better productivity, ideas innovation, and creativity which individuals cannot offer (Padhi, 2019) as their strength is anchored on tapping the abilities and experiences of their other members to achieve a common goal that ordinarily would have been difficult to achieve when working alone (Jones et al., 2007).
Teams empower the workforce to gear up themselves and cooperate on how to deliver the group task. It helps the team members to get together with each other at the workplace to better understand individual strengths and weaknesses leveraging on comparative advantage towards the attainment of productivity. There is no gainsaying that an individual result at the workplace cannot deliver the expected organizational goal hence, the super achievement of the organizational goal will be through teamwork. The organization depends on a group of employed workforces that is expected to work together towards the achievement of a common goal. Productivity achievement in an organization is very imperative and appointing the workforce to the team will help greatly. A well-defined role and objectives for the team will speed the expected work for successful delivery hence the termed teamwork. An assessment of the important role that teamwork can play both to the team members and the organization towards the achievement of results hence this study is centered on the impact of teamwork on organizational performance, therefore, will be useful to employers, employees, HR managers, government parastatals, students, team managers, team leaders, and future researchers.
Teamwork is the fuel that ensures common people achieve uncommon results hence is the ability to work together toward a common vision (Boakye, 2015). In the absence of teamwork, housebuilding, and organizational goal achievement cannot be achieved thereby workers lose their inspiration (Husain, 2011). In teamwork, everyone sings from the same song sheet. Every member of the team has the same understanding of the team’s goals in terms of results, targets, deadlines, and deliverables (Low, 2011).
Teamwork is the ability to work together cooperatively towards a common vision. It is a fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results as it gives employees a sense of ownership and encourages cooperation (Adeleke, 2008). According to Staniforth (2000), teamwork is the collective way of working which result in potential benefits and greater synergy. Collective action is widely recognized as a positive force for teamwork in any organization or institution to succeed as there will be an increase in the variety of ideas of the team members (Hunziker et al., 2011). Two or more people also draw on each other's thoughts and develop ideas (Mcewan et al., 2017) because the team leader uses collaboration to pull each other's suggestions before they settle on a project planning course (Padhi, 2019).
The term team is very crucial to goal attainment as it brings together people with a common mission to work interdependently to perform a specific job. Teams are made up of three or more people who are voluntarily or strategically grouped and dependent on each other to work together to solve a problem and achieve a common goal through a process of adaptation, tolerance, and understanding with a positive attitude toward the overall goals and objectives of coming together. Boakye (2015) opined a team is a formal group of members who interact at a high level and work together intensely to achieve a common group goal. Shared efforts and activities that are coordinated are a pointer for the success of any team. A team is more organized than a group; a team has a leader, and it involves several people working together to achieve a common objective such as to create a product or deliver a service (Low, 2003).
Davis (2007) opined that business owners emphasized more on engaging employees that can work in a team thereby giving credence to having a quality and qualified workforce in each team that can work together to deliver the group task. The organizations, however, coordinate the employees into different teams with the view to each of them tapping from the skills, knowledge, experiences, and abilities of respective human resources employed by an organization. Using their collective strengths, the team members set out to do their assigned tasks, and activities, and execute them well (Low, 2011, p. 103) as the team members understand organizational issues better and hence rally around themselves to help solve the observed problem for collective recognition rather than self-glory.
Oludare (2020, p. 30) opined that teamwork can be regarded as one of the factors of survival and a top priority of any organization to attain market efficiency. The team is set up to support others, for the activities of each unit to be easily coordinated, solving possible conflict arising from poor interaction, exchanging of information, cooperation of activities, easy connection of workforce, and efforts complementing to influence performance. The work of Salas et al. (2005) explained five core components of teamwork which include team leadership, mutual performance monitoring, backup behavior, adaptability, and team orientation. Understanding the component will help the organization and the team members to be guided on their actions for cooperation for the achievement of the bigger goals.
The ant may be sluggard or small and slow-moving knows the importance of working together with a common interest hence they are always in a group called a colony and they are known for working together for a common goal therefore, the workforce in any organization needs to consider and foster team spirit to succeed. It is indeed the industriousness and the teamwork of ants that have helped them to build their magnificent nests (Low, 2011). By resourcefully combining the leaves, the weaver ants can form nests over a few trees, thus supporting a much larger population (Yahya, 2000).
Ruth (2007) claimed that employee teamwork is seen as constituting a larger group of people than what the job position describes. Every position in an organization has attached individual role which forms the basis for assessment but managers looking at the bigger picture which is organizational goals and objective tends to group personnel with common goals to achieve result faster and more efficiently. Alan (2003) defined teamwork as a grouping of professionals whose members work intensely on a specific, common goal using their positive synergy, individual and mutual accountability, and complementary skills. This greatly impacts positively on the organization due to the cross-fertilization of ideas and skills with common interests and drive.
Importance of Teamwork
The essence of teamwork is to ensure that the gigantic workload is reduced for individuals in the team to contribute their quota bit by bit hence the study by Padhi, (2019) stated eight key benefits of teamwork in every organization which include improvement of communication of ideas, promotion problem solving, increase in the speed of workflow, easy learning from other team members, having a feeling of belonging to a group, increase on productivity, promotes better employee relations and lastly shared accountability and also boredom at the workplace will remain a thing of the past.
The finding of Oludare (2020), showed that teamwork cohesion is a positive and significant impact on organizational performance and concluded that the performance of the organization is a subset of operating performance while teamwork is a subset of unit performance.
Wanyeki et al. (2019), studied how teamwork influences the performance of workers in Kenyatta University. They used a questionnaire and interview method to garner information from the respondents and submitted that teamwork has proven to be closely related to the performance of the individual employee, therefore, the organization and others within Kenyatta and beyond should encourage the workforce to work as a team due to the benefits it has not only to the team members but also the organization at large.
Agarwal and Adjirackor (2016), studied the impact of organizational productivity on the staff members of Kwashieman Anglican Basic School of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly using quantitative techniques showing that teamwork is very essential and hence recommended that teamwork activities must be adopted to enhance Organizational Productivity.
Oludare (2020) opined that the organization is a mechanism that integrates the work that groups or individuals will perform with the resources required to carry out the work. The organization is a social unit comprising people structured to pursue a particular goal hence has three elements which include the goal, the system, and the people to drive both hence, Caroline (2008) opined that an organization is a social entity that is goal-directed, deliberately structured activity systems with a preamble boundary. Every organization, either large or small, struggles to acquire productivity to achieve success and maintain a valuable image in this present world of organizational competition (Agarwal & Adjirackor 2016).It occurs when the workforce collaborates to ensure the aims and objectives are achieved hence no organization cannot survive alone without having a good workforce and to improve the productivity level, the introduction of teamwork is essential to augment organizational productivity (Oludare, 2020).
Productivity is how the human resource in an organization combine other resources like raw materials, machines, finance, and others to produce goods and services. Alan (2008) claimed that productivity is the rate at which an employer, company, or country produces goods, and the amount produced, compared with how much time, work, and money is needed to produce them. Productivity cannot be achieved without the workforce striving together to achieve a common goal which in turn will help the organization to attain the target. To improve manpower utilization and to raise the performance of individuals, employees need to work as a team in any organization (Oludare, 2020). Agarwal and Adjirackor’s (2016) studied explicitly the external (political, economic, social, and technological) and internal (leadership style, diversity (culture, talent, and personalities) communication, and cohesiveness) factors that might affect teamwork results therefore managers will ensure the internal factors are well scrutinized to ensure they are carefully addressed to benefit from the gains associated to teamwork.
The work of Silas et al. (2005, p. 555), gave three key areas that can affect the success of a team which include poor planning, a lack of support by their creators, or a breakdown in internal team processes (e.g. communication). Therefore, to leverage the gains of the team, business owners must ensure there is adequate support to the team members from time to time and ensure the efficient organizational communication within the team and the creator are optimized and the planning is gotten right from the onset such that all team members set their eyes on the achievement of the goal. Communication through an exchange of experience, ideas, and thought tends to be difficult when the workforce at working individually hence teamwork help to break the earlier stated barrier with proper coordination and cohesion by the team leader which gives employees a sense of possession and promotes cooperation (Oludare, 2020). Hence, the work of Padhi (2019) stated that two people working together could also be more emboldened to ask a third party for advice orfeedback and not turn their wheels into anything that doesn't fit. Conti and Kleiner (2003) reported that teams offer greater participation, challenges, and feelings of accomplishment due to the synergy of the team which will boost the pace of the workflow in the work environment.
No gainsaying that winning is not an everyday thing, the period the team will not achieve the stated target, the advantage will be that they will encourage and tolerate each other to avoid being demotivated and demoralized and then comfort and drive each other, recalling their victories and winning again together which will no doubt strengthen and facilitate a good working relationship (Padhi, 2019). Some employees usually take their activities sluggishly towards accomplishing basic actions and generally, nothing important gets done. Also, the individual employee working under pressure in some cases will not help the organization hence the need to encourage teamwork such that they will be fast and swift in the discharge of their job and a more skilled workforce can help and complement the other for the flaw to result in drag for an efficient and effective productivity level (Husain, 2011).
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Author: Owie Godfrey Lawrence, student LIGS University
Approved by: Catherine Muthu, lecturer LIGS University